On March 3, Acting City Manager Mark B. Jinks presented City Council with a proposed General Fund Operating Budget (PDF) of $647.9 million and an All Funds budget of $815.0 million, which represent increases over the current year of 1.7% and 1.3%, respectively. This budget includes a $197.8 transfer to schools, a 3.1% increase over FY 2015 funding. The proposed budget includes no increase in any tax rate, and invests $1.6 billion over 10 years in Alexandria’s Capital Improvement Program.
“My budget provides a sustainable path forward and retains core services.” said Jinks. “I am proposing the necessary investments to ensure a bright future for Alexandria.”
The proposed budget reflects City Council’s Strategic Plan, analysis in the City’s Five-Year Financial Plan, the five budget priorities first adopted by the previous city manager, and extensive input from community engagement meetings and online forums.
“City Council looks forward to carefully reviewing the Acting City Manager’s proposals,” said Mayor William D. Euille. “We share the goal of a strategic and forward-thinking budget that values our entire community.”
The City faces the eighth straight year of budgetary challenges, due to the slow recovery from the national recession, a regional economic downturn, and a sluggish revenue forecast. These factors combined to create a $31 million revenue gap as this year’s budget was being prepared. The budget process incorporated the new approach first used to develop the FY 2015 budget, which seeks to link spending to long-term outcomes. In addition, each department contributed options to reduce spending strategically, without making the kind of across-the-board cuts that tend to encourage quantity over quality. Incorporating many of these options is one reason why the proposed budget avoids the need for more dramatic cuts.
The budget underscores the City’s investment in its workforce, funding merit increases for employees who earn them through performance, increasing starting pay for police officers, providing an across-the-board salary increase for all other sworn police positions, and adding an additional step to the firefighter/paramedic career ladder.
City Council will hold eight work sessions throughout March and April to review the proposed budget with City staff; a public budget presentation on March 5 at Samuel Tucker Elementary School; a special budget public hearing on March 16; and a tax rate public hearing on April 21. All sessions are open to the public and will be recorded and posted online. The public may submit comments online, or speak at the public presentations and hearings.
The full Acting City Manager’s message to City Council, and details about the proposed budget, public budget presentation and public meetings, and online comments, are located at alexandriava.gov/Budget .